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Resin identification code 2 ♴ for high density...

Plastic codes are the numbers you find on the base of your shampoo bottle and the like.

They  identify the type of plastic used to make the product.

Only the most common types of plastic are numbered – there are many more plastics than numbers and new plastics are being made all the time.

This symbol DOES not mean the product has been recycled.

For recycling purposes, (for now at least), it is essential to know which plastic is which.

All plastics should be properly identified.

Here are the current plastic codes and what they refer to.

PET or PETE (Polyethylene terephthalate) plastic code 1
Clear drinks bottles, food packaging such as fruit punnets, textile fibres (polyester).

UK Collection Rates
PET bottles are collected by 92% of councils. Recycled PET is generally used in fabrics such as fleece, strapping and carpets. New technology allows PET to be recycled into new food packaging.

HDPE (High-density polyethylene) plastic code 2
Milk bottles, shampoo and cleaning product bottles. HDPE bottles are collected by 92% of councils.They are recycled into garden furniture, litter bins and pipes.

UK Collection Rates
New technology allows HDPE to be recycled into new milk bottles.

PVC (Polyvinyl chloride) plastic code 3
Window frames, drainage pipes, shower curtains, clothing, toys, large squash bottles.

UK Collection Rates
Not generally collected from households for recycling. PVC use in packaging is in decline.

LDPE (Low density polyethylene) plastic code 4
Carrier bags, some bottles and containers, yokes holding four or six-packs of cans together, lining or laminating cardboard containers.
Carrier bags are collected by some supermarkets and recycled into low-grade uses such as bin bags.

UK Collection Rates
Not generally collected from households for recycling. However, mixed plastic recycling is expected to be under way within five years.

PP (Polypropylene) plastic code 5
Soup pots, margarine tubs, most bottle tops, waterproof clothing, carrier bags.
Not generally collected for household recycling, although it has good potential.

UK Collection Rates
However, mixed plastic recycling is expected to be under way within five years.

PS (Polystyrene) plastic code 6
Take away cups, yoghurt pots, cushioning of breakable objects in packaging.

UK Collection Rates
Not generally collected from households for recycling. Some commercial polystyrene is recycled.

Everything else plastic code 7
Other Includes acrylic glass (perspex), nylon and polycarbonate. Items made from a blend of plastics also fall into this category.

UK Collection Rates

Not currently collected

The collection rates are taken from this BBC article

To know more about the above plastics go to everything you ever wanted to know about plastic

To find out where you can recycle each kind of plastic, contact your waste disposal authority, or check the internet. Some recycling plants will accept plastics from the public and are interested in bulk supply from anywhere.

But better still don’t create any plastic trash…..

4 thoughts on “Plastic codes and UK recycling

  1. A motivating discussion is definitely worth comment. There’s no doubt that that you need to write more on this subject, it may not be a taboo subject but usually folks don’t discuss such issues.
    To the next! All the best!!

  2. That would be really handy – as it is the information is not easily found. No great cover up just, I think, these products were made to be disposable but with no real thought as to how that would be done. It is only now becoming obvious that non biodegradable plastic rubbish is taking over the world. I will be writing more about recycling soon – the problem is so much plastic so little time.

  3. Really interesting stuff about plastics. I hadn’t even noticed the recycling code numbers on bottles till I read it on your site . I dashed to the kitchen to look at my washing up bottle ( with 2 pairs of glasses as the symbol was so small).Is everything plastic labelled like this? I’ll be looking from now on. I realise now I should be sorting the recyclable plastics into their different numbers before it goes to the dump. Must check with the council if they cater for that.

    As a visual person and non scientist, what I need is an idiot proof website with a search facility where I type in what the packaging is, and I can discover if I can burn it on an open fire or if it has to go to the dump, or whatever.

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